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What Manton Learned at Culinary School Today - Page 29

post #421 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
please! i think it looks great. don't misunderstand me, i was referring to the style of plating, not the quality or the effort. and it was an honest question: i'm really curious as to having gone through that, did the formal plating pay off for you? you're obviously a good cook and someone who cares about it ... and that's who i hope my readership is, so it's good for me to know. of course, here in california we do everything a little less formally. we'd probably eat that out back on the picnic table. with shorts and baseballcaps.
I think my tendencies (obsessions) are similar to Manton's and I cook out of Keller's books relatively frequently like he does. I always make an effort to do proper plating. It just seems wrong to spend hours working on something to just plop it down on a plate without any thought to presentation. Does it make anything taste better? No, but it makes the experience better imo.
post #422 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
It just seems wrong to spend hours working on something to just plop it down on a plate without any thought to presentation. Does it make anything taste better? No, but it makes the experience better imo.
again, without criticizing Manton's meal at all -- he really put a lot of work into it and it looks great -- but there is a world of difference between formal French plating and "plopping it down on the plate without any thought to presentation." there is a middle style that is composed but naturalistic.
post #423 of 618
culinary sprez?
post #424 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomestar View Post
culinary sprez?

it's the whole spaniel camicia thing.
post #425 of 618
Epic post! Well done! I'd put a seared diver scallop on the cauli soup, a little surf on the overwhelmingly turf menu to balance out a bit.
post #426 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
it's the whole spaniel camicia thing.

post #427 of 618
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by von Rothbart View Post
Epic post! Well done! I'd put a seared diver scallop on the cauli soup, a little surf on the overwhelmingly turf menu to balance out a bit.

This is a good idea and I am going to do it Saturday. Also adding a little white truffle oil.
post #428 of 618
Thread Starter 
Last night:

Salad Lyonnaise (identical).

Caul soup with scallop (thank you VR). Blended it this time, which made it super creamy. The scallop was delicious. However, my plan to have it "float" on the fluerrettes failed. They just sank. Oh, and I also added white truffle oil, which really made it sing.

Onion tart. I am proud of myself because I suck at baking, yet I did not fuck this up. It was delicious. Good dough.

Main course: "Lambipops". That is, I took two whole 8 rib racks, removed every other bone and frenched the rest down to the end, removed the fat layer, and tied the meat in to circles, a la a cote de boeuf. They were very cute. With the long ribs and the circular meat, they looked like lollipops. Pan roasted, then served with a lamb bordelaise. I had made lamb stock earlier. Then I used the trimmings from the racks to make espagnole, then bordelaise the usual way. Except all lamb, no beef or veal stock lamb fat and trimmings rather than bacon.

Served that with a green bean/shallot/mushroom/bacon puree (delicious, but it looked like baby food); turned carrots (I did a pretty good job on these, getting better at tourne, I think), and Pommes Maxim. This is like Pommes Anna, except super thin and one layer. You lay them out on a Silpat and bake on low heat. Supposed to form a light, crisp sheet. Mine did not work. The edges cooked too fast, and the centers stayed soggy. I sliced them very thin on the mandoline, but maybe not thin enough. Will try again.

Plating remains my hideous weakest link. Just very bad overall. I try, though. The idea was to put the puree in the middle, put the chops on it with the bones forming an "X" and the potato cake in the X. Well, the lamb just sank in the puree, I had a hard time keeping the "X", and some of the potato cakes were too floppy to stand up. Also, the sauce really had nowhere to go but on the lamb, and it just got all down into the puree.

Everything tasted good, but presentation was a D- at best.

Dessert: Chocolate mousse, no tricks, just as I learned it in school. Well done, but whipping the cream and egg whites by hand with a balloon whisk almost took my arm off.
post #429 of 618
I love this thread
post #430 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post

Caul soup with scallop (thank you VR). Blended it this time, which made it super creamy. The scallop was delicious. However, my plan to have it "float" on the fluerrettes failed. They just sank. Oh, and I also added white truffle oil, which really made it sing.

Serve the soup in wider and shallower bowls, and use fluerettes as "pedestal", the scallop should "float".


Quote:
Dessert: Chocolate mousse, no tricks, just as I learned it in school. Well done, but whipping the cream and egg whites by hand with a balloon whisk almost took my arm off.

I usually hide raspberry (or any fruits in season) coulis in the middle for a little surprise which also provides some contrast to the richness and sweetness of chocolate mousse.
post #431 of 618
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by von Rothbart View Post
Serve the soup in wider and shallower bowls, and use fluerettes as "pedestal", the scallop should "float".
I did that, no dice.
post #432 of 618
The fluerettes pedestal and the scallop should provide you with 2" height, that's a lot of soup to submerge the scallop in a wide rim bowl.
post #433 of 618
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Last night:

Salad Lyonnaise (identical).


Don't you find a chicken egg a little overwhelming for a salad that size?

At louis we did one with two little quail eggs and I recall using a duck egg before as well. When I looked at your Christmas dinner it just seemed a little hefty.

As to your plating, I'd say that it's very 80s. You're obsessed with symmetry and it ends up looking a little cheesy. You'll see that right now people tend to not separate components too much. Pay attention to plate composition when you eat out, and obviously look at your cookbooks.

Obviously something that will hold back your plating (from what I'm guessing you want it to be), is your use of very classic french technique and ingredients. When I look at that filet dish, I don't think you'd ever see any chef working right now putting a bunch of honking tourneed carrots on a plate along with a hunk of meat. You're learning how to cook well and learning to do these components is extremely important so I wouldn't worry that right now it doesn't look terribly elegant. Current cooking is so much about deconstruction and re-interpretation so it would be hard for someone to artfully put together what you did and have it look like something from TFL.

The good news is that your technique is probably far better than you think. Looking at your food I think that you definitely know how to cook and have an eye for detail. You'll get a lot faster and more efficient the more you do it, and it makes me very happy to see that you're so into taking all the steps without skimping.

I've read your book and it defies my imagination that someone with an eye as critical as yours cannot become a half way decent plater. Just pay more attention, and obviously as your technique gets better and your familiarity with ingredients improves, you'll naturally start plating things better.
post #434 of 618
Thread Starter 
The first time I ever thought about plating was in school. Otherwise, I plated like this: imagine a peace sign drawn on the plate: protein goes in one of the large sections, starch in the other large section, two vegs in each of the small sections. That's it.

The school woke me up to the basic idea of how to do it right. I don't think aesthetic judgement in one field necessarily translates to another. It certainly has not in my case -- that is, assuming you grant that I have good aesthetic judgement for clothes.

Basically, I have no imagination at all for pretty much everything, cooking above all. I cook classics because I can't think of anything else or invent anything of my own. Lately I have just barely begun to branch out, sometimes with combinations, occasionally with a whole new dish. But it is tentative and often results in pretty dismal failure.

As for the eggs, I never thought of anything else, but it is a good idea, assuming I can get quail eggs (which I probably could at either Balducci's in Scarsdale or Whole Foods in White Plains).

As for the tourne, that was unecessary, but I found it to be one of the three or four hardest things to do in school and I am obsessed with getting it right. Also, I am getting better at it so I like to do it because as I improve it makes me feel like less of a hack.
post #435 of 618
i don't think a critical eye in one field necessarily translates to a critical eye in another (witness my closet). but i do think the willingness to pay attention and to detail translates and so does caring enough to improve. i think the plating of the main dish would have been improved greatly just by reducing the number of elements and the quantity of some of them. simplify and look for balance. iirc, you questioned the inclusion of the mashed potatoes and i think you were right to do so. that plate would have been improved 100% without all that mash (if you really love it, pass it in a separate bowl on the side). don't worry about being creative and inventive ... all that will come with time. personally, i wish more pros would stick longer with perfecting the classics, rather than believing their picasso right out of cooking school. like anything else, learn the rules (and learn why they are rules) before you start breaking them.
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